JAMES Reilly has admitted that the €133m proposed cuts to medical cards was unachievable.
The Health Minister has this morning announced a new savings target in this area of €23m.
Dr Reilly was speaking in advance of the publication of the HSE Service Plan which will detail some €619m worth of savings.
However he came under fire from the Opposition for the delay in the plan's publication.
Dr Reilly told the Dail that he was never going to be able to deliver the €133m in medical card savings, known as 'probity', which was proposed in October's Budget.
He said the target has been slashed to €23m and insisted that there will be no changes to eligibility.
"This will allow those who have medical cards be absolutely assured that those who are entitled to them remain entitled to them. There is no change in eligibility going to occur in the course of this year,"Dr Reilly said.
The Fine Gael minister said that as part of probity process, health officials will attempt to validate cards to "ensure that people haven't left the country or haven't moved on to somewhere else".
He said it is important that doctors "aren't being paid for cards for people who they aren't delivering services to".
Supporters of Health Minister Dr James Reilly’s always argued the controversial €113m was imposed upon him in Budget 2014 by the Department of Public Expenditure.
The abandonment of the original €113m target for the controversial medical card probity was first revealed in the Sunday Independent a fortnight ago.